Jesus was a pioneer – He pioneered the new era of God’s work on earth which is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. The early believers were pioneers too; they were so full of passion for spreading the good news about Jesus’ resurrection that they were accused of turning the world upside down!
Edinburgh City Mission have always had a pioneering spirit! We are not content with the status quo in our city. We are constantly seeking the direction and dynamic power of the Holy Spirit to lead us into mission across the city. We are committed to helping churches love their neighbours and start new church-based outreach projects. We do this through envisioning, praying, planning, connecting, training and supporting them as they get started and beyond.
Recently we have pioneered community outreach in various ways: we helped to pioneer two Soul Food meals in partnership with Soul Food Edinburgh, one with City of Edinburgh Methodist Church in Newington and the other with Carrubbers on the Royal Mile; we started Salaam refugee and asylum seeker support work in February 2020; helped launch a new Foodbank+ with Lighthouse Central Church in Prestonpans; helped launch a Clothesbank+ with Central Church in Tollcross; and initiated Nations, our racial justice support work.
We have just launched An Open Hand, a new toy delivery service for families who are struggling, in partnership with Greenbank Parish Church. And we are going to launch Two’s Company soon, a new befrienders’ support scheme for older people.
Love can be understood in many different ways. When we talk about love as one of our values, we are focussing on self-sacrificial love for others as modelled by Jesus when He touched lepers and ultimately, died on the cross on our behalf. We are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”.
Love is a high calling: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Our commitment to generosity flows from the generosity that God has shown us: He has lavished the riches of His grace on us with all wisdom and understanding. We show God’s generosity in various ways: the amount of food we place in people’s bags in our Foodbanks+, the quality of food we serve at Soul Food meals and put in Christmas hampers for refugees and asylum seekers, the amount of time we invest in people who want our input, the kind words we say about others as we all seek to play our part in our inter-connected relationships, and the generosity of spirit that is displayed in the prayers we pray for churches and their communities across the city and the surrounding area.
God is one and so are we in the church. And yet, God is diverse, having revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the same way, there is unity and diversity in the church, as can be seen in Romans 12 in the Bible.
Unity exists amongst all Christians because we call on the same Father, we have all been adopted into the same family through Jesus, who is the head of His church and every church, and we all have the same Spirit who has given us faith and prompts us to pray.
Living out our unity requires humility, love, effort and prayer. While we each have our own convictions and distinctive church traditions and cultures, we actively recognise and affirm the diversity of other Christians’ beliefs, experiences, worship styles, gifts, practices and viewpoints, wherever they differ from our own. And we rejoice when the good news is shared by whoever, wherever and whenever, regardless of what motivates sharing of faith.
God is just. This is at the very core of who He is. We trust that He will bring justice to Edinburgh and beyond. Jesus underlines the centrality of justice and love, what He called the weightier matters of the law, saying that they are more important than religious practice.
We express our commitment to justice by praying God’s kingdom rule and influence will come in Edinburgh and the surrounding area, by showing compassion and care for those who lack housing, money or food – referred to as ‘the poor’ in the Bible – and those who are disadvantaged in other ways such as widows, orphans, prisoners, outsiders and newcomers, or because of ethnicity, gender, education, health, abilities, sexuality and/or age.
Throughout the Bible there are many examples of those on the margins being cared for and drawn in by the wider community. We are warned of the danger of ignoring justice and there are clear exhortations to come alongside and lift up the weak and bring justice.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we are convinced that (Jesus) died for us all… and that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”